Every business, regardless of its size, needs a blog. I know what you're thinking: "But I have a professional image to uphold. How can a blog possibly attract new customers and how can it provide them with the information they need?" The answer is simple: A blog can be one of the most decisive public relations tools in your marketing and branding tool kit.
Read on and I'll educate you on the basics of blogs.
What is a blog?
The term "blog" is slang for "web log." Wikipedia defines a blog as "a web site where entries are written in chronological order and are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order." The word can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. To get a feel for the wide use of blogs, consider the following: In September 2007, blog search engine Technorati tracked more than 106 million blogs. Some notable corporations that use blogs are HP, Google, Microsoft and ImageWorks Studio.
Myths and Facts
No doubt the last thing you need is a lecture on the latest Web 2.0 strategies. However, I should correct a few common misconceptions about blogs, as well as why web design companies use them as an effective method for reaching out to their audience.
Blogs are used only by teenagers. You need to spend many hours every day to maintain a blog.
You need to know HTML and have other coding skills to blog.
Blogs allow a company to control the editorial content of the web site while restricting/blocking users' comments. Blogs can be updated as often as you wish.
But to make them more effective and valuable to your audience, update them often. Blogs require no knowledge of HTML or special coding. There are numerous blogging software packages on the market that are free. Blogs allow companies to quickly get information out to customers, unlike traditional communication methods. Blogs are an inexpensive way to effectively communicate and share information with your audience. Blogs comprise text and external links, making them search engine-friendly.
Benefits of Corporate Blogging
In January 2007, Forrester released a research study centered on "The ROI of Blogging ? The 'Why' and 'How' Of External Blogging Accountability" by Charlene Li and Chloe Stromberg.
According to the study, some of the benefits of corporate blogging are: Greater brand visibility in mainstream media on the Web Word-of-mouth advertising Improved brand perception Instantaneous consumer feedback Increased sales efficiency Fewer customer service-driven PR blowups
Consumers are better educated today because of the vast amounts of information available on the Internet. Not only will a blog convey information to your target demographic faster and cheaper than traditional means, but when coupled with search engine benefits, brand visibility, and a value-based proposition, a blog should be an essential part of your marketing platform.
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Scott C. Margenau is president of image works Studio, an award-winning website design agency, branding marketing firm specializing in online and off-line media in advertising, web development, brand development and promotion.